We have begun the New Year 2024 with great energy after a very fruitful Province Sammelan at the end of December 2023. The purpose of the Province Sammelan was to foster our union and to discern about how to be relevant in our mission in the present times. We are a young Province of 319 members, with 218 priests, 1 Brother, 86 scholastics and 14 novices. We have 89 young priests (ordained approved scholastics). We have 16 Jesuit communities and our average age in the province is 42.
The Province Sammelan with the keynote address, the State of the Province Report, the SWOC analysis of the various commissions, the panel discussion by lay partners and the spiritual conversations have yielded much fruit. It has helped strengthen the province internally by building bonds, brought more clarity and freshness to the province; focused on the overall growth of the province to remain relevant, professional, more systematic in achieving the vision and mission of the province, and helped discuss the future direction of the province.
Biologists talk about DNA, the genetic material in the cells of living organisms. What is the DNA of the Jesuits of Karnataka Province? First, a commitment to excellence in everything we do: Magis, depth and discernment. Second, a spirit of addressing the context in collaboration, an eagerness to work together with other groups. Third, a commitment to diversity and creating opportunities for our option groups. These three elements are the cornerstones of Karnataka Province’s strength.
We are in challenging times faced by the aftermath of the Covid pandemic, the collapse of democratic institutions and a greater urban-rural divide with increasing communalization, crony capitalism, and marginalization creating divisions in the State and in the country. We are also faced by the challenges of the National Education Policy and experience the ill-effects of the devastation done to the environment. We need to combat these like warriors with a greater focus on our UAPs, PAPs and the DSS. What will help us combat these challenges is our deep and personal attachment to Jesus and his mission, being friends in the Lord, having greater love for the poor and the excluded, and discerning love.